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GP Week : Issue 159
BRIEFLY » One of the major topics of conversation this weekend was the rumour that the Concorde Agreement currently being negotiated made provision for the F1 calendar to expand to a mammoth 23 races. The story doing the rounds was that the 2013 season would see 23 grands prix, and many were left scratching their heads as they tried to establish just where those extra races would be held. But Bernie Ecclestone dampened the flames when he said there were no plans to hold 23 races next year. A more likely explanation is that the next Concorde makes provision for a 20-race calendar with the possibility of an additional three races, much as the last version allowed for 17 races with three possible extras. » Caterham have been concentrating on aerodynamic development this season, taking on former McLaren aero chief John Iley and making use of the Williams wind tunnel facilities in Grove as part of a partnership deal. And based on their performance in Valencia this weekend, the team’s hard work looks to be paying off. Heikki Kovalainen out-qualified both Toro Rosso drivers on Saturday, and were it not for the fact that both Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov suffered run-ins with the STR pair during Sunday’s race it looked as though the team would have scored that elusive first point. Part of the team’s upgrade package for the European Grand Prix was a new floor, but expectations are high concerning further updates planned for Silverstone in two weeks’ time. Formula One is often seen as being all about the money. And this week, that was certainly the case, thanks to the success of separate fundraising initiatives from two of the grid’s big hitters. As GPWEEK reported in past issues, Ferrari have been holding an auction to raise money for the victims of last month’s Emilia-Romagna earthquake, while Red Bull are selling face space on their sidepods to help a variety of good causes. Ferrari were able to raise nearly €2 million for Italian earthquake victims after an American bidder forked out €1.4 million for a one-off Ferrari 599XX which will be hand delivered to its new owner by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. “A pole position result: I knew I could count on the big-heartedness of the Ferraristi but they've still managed to surprise me once again,” said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo. “I would like to thank all the clients, collectors and enthusiasts that did their bit. Their bids have sent out a message of warmth and solidarity to the people in our region affected by this tragedy.” Red Bull have been raising money for Wings for Life via its Faces for Charity project, which will see the faces of fans who have donated money to the project painted onto the sidepods of the RB8s driven by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Red Bull are matching the fans’ donations. “Faces for Charity is going to make this year's race at Silverstone extra special,” said team principal Christian Horner. “It will be a privilege for the drivers and the team to race with thousands of fans by our sides. Most importantly, it will create a real buzz for Wings for Life and spread awareness about their vital work.” According to Red Bull, the project has raised over €1 million which will be used to help fund a number of research projects around the world. F1GETS CHARITABLE F1 >>> NEWS 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: